Celibacy Doesn’t Deprive Manhood!
Fr PE Lavoipierre, Durban – As a happy, contented and relatively effective celibate priest (when either covered or uncovered by my cassock-robe) and rapidly approaching the 53rd anniversary of ordination, I find Romany Rubin’s letter “Celibacy nowhere required by God” (April 19) all of offensive, distasteful and indicative of a private agenda.
Mr Rubin should know very clearly that here is one priest who has never felt “robbed of his manhood”.
In addition, I very much doubt whether all the good Catholics to whom I have enjoyed ministering ever regarded me as “taking the place of God in their lives”.
You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all the people all the time!
Every relatively well-informed and intelligent Catholic is fully aware that the Church’s requirement of celibacy is nowhere prescribed in the gospels.
Neither, for that matter, is fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday nor Good Friday, the obligation of Sunday Mass, a wide range of pious devotions and the prescribed fast before reception of the Eucharist (by way of examples only).
Perhaps Mr Rubin would be kind enough to inform us whether, in the gospels, there is any indication that Jesus was anything other than celibate? If Jesus was celibate would this (a) indicate that he was robbed of his manhood, (b) that his “service of God was restricted”, and (c) contradict his DNA?
It is also interesting that Mr Rubin suggests that the virtue of purity “actually belongs to the domain of virgins and women”.
Well, I never! I had always held that purity and chastity belonged not only to the ordained, celibate, clergy but also to all unmarried or married men and women.
In addition, I wonder how many Catholic women will not be deeply offended to learn that only they, and not the male of the species, have to be chaste and pure?
As far as Catholic males are concerned, they might well be delighted to learn they are now free to make the journey onwards according to their God-given DNA animal instincts.
I do know some “strange men” who are, and have been, priests. However, let me assure Mr Rubin that 53 years of priesthood have also, most successfully, introduced me to a good many strange men and women — both married and unmarried.
Also, what about the “many awful transgressions” taking place in the Catholic homes of married men and women?
Finally, is your correspondent suggesting that until the mandatory celibacy rule is abolished, we should cease praying for vocations to the priesthood?
Is he communicating a certain satisfaction that if any mature young man in the process of discerning whether he has a vocation to the celibate priesthood, but reading his letter, decides to proceed no further?